Fall 2010

Figures of the Political/Economy – Shades of Power

Tuesday 2.00pm-5.00pm

Kenan Labs 125

This class will explore the four major “figures”/theories of power and politics in contemporary social and cultural theory. It seeks to explore the relations among them, the harmonies, fissures and contradictions. For each figure, we will read and discuss founding works as well as more contemporary elaboration. The final part of the class will read a number of recent analyses that, in different ways, attempt to work with and between multiple figures. Below are some possible readings.

The Marxian Legacy I (2 weeks)

Selections from The Althusserean Legacy and Rethinking Marxism,

Resnick and Wolff, David Ruccio, J.K. Gibson-Graham, David Harvey.

The Marxian Legacy II: Hegemony (3 weeks)

Selections from Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe, Hall, Clarke, Brennan

Biopower (3 Weeks)

Selections from Foucault’s biopolitics trilogy, Agamben, Rose

Autonomy (3 weeks)

Selections from Hardt and Negri, Lotringer and Marazzi, Virno, Marcos,

Connolly, Holloway, Graeber

Conversations, Articulations, and Hybridities (3 weeks)

Selections from Puar, Ruccio, Rajan



"I see tendencies of proletarianization. By proletarianization I mean people being reduced almost to a kind of Cartesian zero-level - you are a free agent but deprived of substance."


my night at maud's

That's love

DJ Shadow

Lesson 4 (1991) sampled
The Champ by The Mohawks (1968)
Looking Out My Window by Tom Jones (1968)
Soul Pride by James Brown (1969)
Let a Woman Be a Woman - Let a Man Be a Man by Dyke & the Blazers (1969)
Funky Drummer by James Brown (1970)
Do the Funky Penguin by Rufus Thomas (1971)
Listen to Me by Baby Huey (1971)
Free Your Mind by The Politicians (1972)
Troglodyte (Cave Man) by The Jimmy Castor Bunch (1972)
Think (About It) by Lyn Collins (1972)
Electric Frog by Kool & the Gang (1972)
Apache by Incredible Bongo Band (1973)
Shaft in Africa by Johnny Pate (1973)
Blow Your Head by Fred Wesley and The J.B.'s (1974)
Put the Music Where Your Mouth Is by Olympic Runners (1974)
The Lovomaniacs by Boobie Knight & the Universal Lady (1974)
Granny's Funky Rolls Royce by Junie Morrison (1975)
Theme From S.W.A.T. by Rhythm Heritage (1975)
Scratchin' by The Magic Disco Machine (1975)
Funky President by James Brown (1975)
Funky Music Is the Thing by Dynamic Corvettes (1975)
Let's Dance by Pleasure (1976)
Keep Your Distance by Babe Ruth (1976)
Pussyfooter by Jackie Robinson (1976)
Theme From the Planets by Dexter Wansel (1976)
Joyous by Pleasure (1977)
Ain't We Funkin' Now by The Brothers Johnson (1978)
Dance to the Drummer's Beat by Herman Kelly & Life (1978)
UFO by ESG (1981)
You'll Like It Too by Funkadelic (1981)

via whosampled.com


David Simon on New Orleans

Lots of American places used to make things. Detroit used to make cars. Baltimore used to make steel and ships. New Orleans still makes something. It makes moments. I don’t mean that to sound flippant, and I don’t mean it to sound more or less than what it is, but they’re artists with a moment, they can take a moment and make it into something so transcendent that you’re not quite sure that it happened or that you were a part of it.

I think The Wire is the Masterpiece Theatre of our time.


Arsene Wenger

"I believe a big club must have the ambition to win with style ... You know, there is a famous saying, that the only way to deal with your life is to transform it into art, every minute of your life. Football is an art, like dancing is an art – but only when it's well done does it become an art."


More memes

One meme that I've noticed again and again is (scantily clad) white women in Indian (Native American) headresses. Why is that?

e.g. http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_kz90gfP8Q31qz7lxdo1_500.jpg


Also this one

Spectre Supreme

Oh the hours I played this stupid game. The sound effects are etched in my mind permanently.



So I think there is something authentically new going on on the internet. It regards re-posted pictures. Sites like ffffound and tumblr traffic in photos, and bloggers routinely steal good photos from one another, with and without citation. So what are the photos that tend to pop up again and again, over time, like deep structures of the psyche? They tend to be suggestive, risque, and a little smutty without being overly pornographic, debauched, or gratuitous.

How is this different from the Rickroll, autotune the news, or other internet memes? I think that because we're dealing with pictures, there is a more subtle configuration of organic sensation that is occurring. The pictures are not art. They cultivate some kind of raw sensuality, a curiousness that transcends the ordinary.